(Illustrative) A police vehicle is seen at the area where a Jewish man was attacked, in front of a synagogue, in Hamburg, Germany, Oct. 4, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Fabian Bimmer.
A German neo-Nazi paramilitary group named in honor of a sadistic SS war criminal was banned by the federal government on Tuesday, as police carried out raids on the homes of its supporters in three separate states.
Knives, machetes, a crossbow, narcotics and a range of illegal Nazi insignias, including swastikas, were uncovered during the raids that accompanied the government’s ban on “Wolf Brigade 44″ — the fourth right-wing extremist organization to have been closed down by Germany’s federal Interior Ministry during 2020.
At a press conference on Tuesday morning, the interior minister of the state of North-Rhine Westphalia confirmed that the group espoused core Nazi dogmas about race.
“Its members openly promote National Socialist ideas and they refer to the Federal Republic as a ‘Jewish republic,'” Herbert Reul stated. “That is the most disgusting Nazi symbolism and rhetoric.”
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In a separate statement, the federal Interior Ministry in Berlin said that “Wolf Brigade 44” had “openly acknowledged Adolf Hitler and sought to re-establish a Nazi state by abolishing the democratic constitutional state.”
The statement continued: “Characteristics of the group are its military demeanor, its pronounced racism and antisemitism, and the combative-aggressive attitude that it propagated publicly and in social media in order to spread its inhuman ideology and gain further supporters.”
The “44” in the group’s name is code for the letters “DD” — a reference to the notorious “Division Dirlewanger” of the Waffen SS.
Commanded by Oskar Dirlewanger, a Nazi officer with a reputation for extreme brutality, the unit was originally composed of convicted criminals drafted into the SS by the Nazi regime. It was responsible for mass atrocities against Jews and resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Poland, Belarus, Hungary and Slovakia.
The “Wolf Brigade 44” group first came into existence in 2016. According to German intelligence sources, its structure contains a military wing known as the “Storm Brigade” alongside the main group.